We interview Fred Eichler
Fred Eichler’s passion for bowhunting has led him all over the world. Fred truly believes that any animal with a bow is a trophy. Fred’s quest to complete the North American Super Slam® with a recurve bow reflects that state of mind. In mid-August of 2009 Fred harvested a cow Tule Elk to become the first to take all 29 North American big game animals with a recurve bow and complete his quest for a Super Slam.
- What’s one rookie mistake you’ve made hunting?
I have managed to make about every mistake a hunter can make at one time or another, but the two that stand out is forgetting to load my rifle once on a coyote stand and once, in Illinois, I hiked into a tree stand on an archery deer hunt and climbed into the stand with my bow…only to realize I had forgotten my arrows!
- What’s the hardest lesson you have learned while hunting?
The hardest lesson that I’ve learned is to always be prepared. A situation can turn life threatening instantly due to weather, terrain, injury and hostile animals or people. In the past, I wasn’t always prepared for the worse. Now I am.
- What one hunting skill that you most want to improve?
I am constantly striving to be the best shot I can be with any weapon I use; Whether, it is my bow, handgun, rifle, air rifle, crossbow or shotgun.
- Who do you admire most in the hunting and conservation world and Why?
In the hunting world, some of the people I admire most would be men like my father, Fred Bear, Chuck Adams, Mike Palmer and Dwight Schuh, to name a few.
- How were you introduced to hunting?
- Who were the influencers in your life that helped you get into hunting?
My father, as well as Fred Bear, and a lot of other outdoor writers that did a great job telling a story in print that made me want to experience the adventures they so eloquently shared.
- Tell us about your first hunt?
I started hunting really young, so I can’t really remember my first hunt. A few I’ll always remember is the first deer I took with a lever action .30-30 rifle, along with the first deer I took with a bow in my teens.
- What advice would you give someone just getting into hunting?
Have fun! Enjoy every sunrise, sunset and all your time spent afield, and you will never have an unsuccessful hunt.
- What species would you most like to hunt?
I have been fortunate to harvest all 29 species that make up the Super Slam. In the future, I think I will continue hunting as much as I can for whatever species I have a tag for.
- What gear do you carry that you could not live without?
- My emergency gear which includes parachute cord, a lighter, matches, knife sharpener, a compass and GPS, two power bars, and water.
- Weapons, whether it is my rifle/bow and extra arrows/bullets
- You’re picky about who you accept to sponsor both Predator Nation and Easton Bowhunting. How do you determine who you decide to partner with?
My integrity is important to me. I only work with manufacturers who make items I use and believe in. 5.11 Tactical for example: Their slogan “Always Be Ready” is exactly my philosophy. I use their products whether I am in the city (concealed carry shirts) or on my ranch (everyday work wear). I need tough equipment that won’t let me down. The companies I work with, I believe in.
- What is your perfect big game rifle and bullet set up?
For predators like coyote, bobcat, badger, fox, raccoons, etc., I love to use my Rock River Arms signature rifle I helped design in .223 caliber. For the bullet set up, I use the Hornady Superformance 50 grain V-Max bullets.
- What is your most memorable hunt?
There are a lot, but one of the most memorable involved a Grizzly that stood up in front of me that I shot with my recurve.
- What is your favorite archery and arrow set up?
Hoyt buffalo recurve at 54 pounds at my draw with Easton Axis 400 arrows tipped with Muzzy broadheads.
- What conservation organizations do you support with your time and money?
I am a member of almost all the state bowhunting associations across the country. I also am a member of Pheasants Forever, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, SCI, Ducks Unlimited, NRA and Pope and Young.
- What three tried and true tips do you have to offer hunters for small game?
- Know the animal you’re after—learn what sounds they make, what their tracks look like and what they like to eat.
- Make sure you bring a weapon you are familiar with—only take a weapon that you can shoot accurately.
- Blend into the terrain—use appropriate camouflage for the area you will be hunting. If you spook them you can’t shoot them!
- What three tried and true tips do you have to offer hunters for Spring Gobbler Season?
- Scouting: make sure you know where the roost trees are and where they are feeding.
- Calls/Decoys: I would never go out turkey hunting without my calls and decoys.
- Blinds: Where legal an Ameristep blind will make you a more successful hunter. I use a blind turkey hunting whenever I can.
- What three tried and true tips do you have to offer hunters for Deer Archery Season?
- Scouting—I constantly scout the areas I am going to hunt. A lot of people are unsuccessful at deer hunting because where the deer were two months ago may not be where they are when season starts.
- Choosing a good stand location on active trails—it’s all about location, location, location.
- Have cleared shooting lanes—if a deer comes into range, you can have a clear shot.
- In all of the years of hunting what is the most important lesson you have learned from the outdoors?
To enjoy my time in the field, but to also be ready for any situation that arises. I’ve found that spending time outdoors causes you to be more self-sufficient.
- How can our readers follow you on social media?
- Where and when can folks tune in to catch your show?
We play on the Sportsman Channel three times a week, all year. Predator Nation plays from October through March, and Easton Bowhunting airs from April through September.
- What would you like other hunters and non-hunters to know about you as a hunter?
For me, it’s all about the experience—the places I go, the people I meet, the sunrises and the sunsets. The kill is definitely a part of hunting, but it’s only a small part.
- When youngsters and their parents come up to meet you for a quick photo or autograph, what message do you hope to convey?
I want to share my passion for the outdoors.